Friday, April 18, 2008

David Cameron a Disconnected Cretin?

In the Telegraph this morning he starts with a completely cretinous question given the papers headline and when he actually stops knocking the government ( ignoring the question he himself has posed) he turns to a fatuous totally unconnected matter of first time buyers. Do you not despair, but what else to expect from a man who can annually rip off the taxpayers to the extent that Cameron does? The piece is here and the two quotes are these:

Is the credit crunch that began in the financial markets and led to a run on a bank starting to hit Britain's families in the pocket?......................

So what about the Conservatives, you ask. Could we show leadership? We could.

We would help those who want to get on the housing ladder by implementing our plans to take nine out of 10 first-time buyers out of stamp duty. At a time of falling house prices and lack of affordability, the Government should do what it can to support first-time buyers.

What about Britain's families mentioned at the beginning - why it seems he has forgotten them already! Vapid! Totally VAPID!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Boris can only offer more of the same under Scots' blooded Cameron

Naturally only the candidates for the three main parties receive any detailed coverage in London's so-called free and fair Mayoral election. This evening one of the minor party's contenders will be granted an election broadcast which is now available on YouTube.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Cameron - Cheapskate or worthless luxury?

Perhaps Cameron really only spent sixty odd quid communicating with his constituents!

If so they didn't get much value for the annual twenty odd thousands the taxpayers have been spending each year for his mortgage did they?

Monday, April 07, 2008

What a sixty-five pound fifty pence communications claim really shows!

Imagine if you can, claiming twenty-one thousand, two hundred and ninety-three pounds and eighty-six pence from the taxpayer to purchase a second home in the conveniently close to London countryside of Oxfordshire.

Then further imagine the kind of person who in finding that he is somewhat short of the maximum claim allowed by some three hundred and forty pounds and fourteen pence, then bangs in a further claim for sixty five pound fifty of phone bills or whatever!

One might presume the mortgage undershoot was an error, a miscalculation given that the year before the maximum had been £20,902 and the year after became £22,110.

Consider the Cameron couple are not of a class that require a mortgage for a second nor even third or fourth home. Is it co-incidence then, that the repayments are so close to the parliamentary maximum?

Given the undershoot however, surely any non-grasping or even sensibly cautious individual would refrain from adding the extra sixty-five pounds fifty pence. Hardly enough, after all, for an Oxfordshire countryside pre-dinner champagne one would imagine and surely of no consequence to a cad who must have forked out many hundreds of guineas for the blue velvet tails he used to don when incurring substantial bills for corkage and breakages during his Bullingdon dining with the Conservative Party's Mayoral candidate Boris?

How can anyone concerned for their country remain in a party led by someone who could steep so low and demean themselves in such a manner. How could you now vote for this man's drinking buddy Boris? Plenty of other choices remain!

£65.50 that is just about all David Cameron is worth, and do you not just marvel at the effrontery of that extra 50 pence?????

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Candidates for London Mayor in 2008

London Elects announced the list of duly nominated candidates [1] shortly after the close of nominations at noon on 28 March 2008:

London Mayoral Election 2008 - Official list of candidates
Name Party
Richard Barnbrook BNP
Gerard Batten UKIP
Siân Berry Green
Alan Craig Christian Choice (an alliance between the Christian Party and the Christian People's Alliance)
Lindsey German Left List
Boris Johnson Conservative
Ken Livingstone Labour
Winston McKenzie Independent
Matt O'Connor English Democrats
Brian Paddick Lib Dem

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The anti-democratic manipulations of the slimeball Cameron

The man who claimed £21,293 last year from the taxpayer for his mortgage on his private property goldmine in the prime Oxfordshire countryside is an anti-democrat apparently determined to neuter not only Parliament
but also his own party by his outrageous decision not to whip his MPs to vote for a motion re-iterating its supremacy and ordered its front bench to abstain!

I cannot improve upon the first rate coverage of Conservative Home and The Huntsman on this matter so unusually quote both their postings on MEP selections in full.

An opportunity for Conservative voters living in London to show their disgust will be a vote for Matt O'Connor on 1st May, rather than the Bullingdon friend of Cameron the 'faux' buffoon Boris Johnson.

Conservative Home's Posting

The story of how the party's EU enthusiasts fixed the MEP selection process

ConservativeHome first came to prominence when we coordinated initial efforts to oppose Michael Howard's attempts to end grassroots involvement in the election of the Conservative leader. We blogged on the subject on an almost daily basis and coordinated the early national media effort to stop the rolling back of party democracy. Those efforts were successful and David Cameron was eventually elected Tory leader with the full confidence of the voluntary party. If that's where we began that's what we still believe today. This site's manifesto includes a commitment to argue for a Conservative Party that embodies the localism and democracy that it recommends for the nation.

If we were successful in 2005 we have been comprehensively defeated in the last year. The opponents of party democracy - or more accurately the defenders of a cadre of MEPs supportive of further integration and unrepresentative of mainstream party opinion - have ran a selection process that has protected incumbency and subverted party democracy. They did so in clear opposition to the wishes of party members. 78% of grassroots members told ConservativeHome that all sitting MEPs should be subject to a full vote. This brief note is a record of how sitting MEPs escaped democratic scrutiny from the party's members. For anyone ever wanting to fix an election it includes lots of helpful tips...


Grassroots members were prevented from deselecting incumbents. The decision from which the other abuses flow was the decision to ensure that sitting MEPs could not lose their places at the top of the regional lists which determine the likelihood of being elected to the European Parliament. Timothy Kirkhope MEP, then Leader of the Tory MEPs, and Caroline Abel Smith, responsible for European issues on the Party Board, wanted to ensure that rank-and-file members could not oust incumbent MEPs. They feared a backlash from grassroots members who had seen many MEPs undermine the leadership's position on the EPP and who had been consistently supportive of European integration. They knew that members would be much better informed of MEPs' voting records in this internet age and they knew that that would spell disaster for a number of MEPs' careers. Their initial proposal to the Party Board was that individual members should have no role in reselection. This was thwarted by Francis Maude and the MPs and elected representatives of the voluntary party that sit on the Party Board. They guaranteed that grassroots members should rank all non-incumbent candidates but only after Regional Selection Committees had decided whether sitting MEPs should automatically be at the top of the lists. The grassroots would be limited to ranking non-incumbents and deciding whether Sitting MEP 1 should be ranked higher than Sitting MEP 2 or 3. The grassroots would have no powers of deselection - something that Timothy Kirkhope claimed as one of his proudest achievements when unsuccessfully restanding as MEP leader last November. We predicted that the RSCs would rubber stamp every MEP and they did.

Female candidates won better MEP slots even though they received fewer votes. The decision to guarantee that a woman candidate was automatically at the top of the non-incumbent list regardless of how many votes she had received reflected two things: (1) The fact that the existing MEP delegation included just one woman, Caroline Jackson, and she was retiring and (2) The Cameron's leadership's commitment to increase the representativeness of the party. If incumbents hadn't been protected the election of more women would have been natural. We believe that, for example, North West Tories would have preferred Jacqui Foster or Fiona Bruce to Sajjad Karim MEP, and Therese Coffey and Sarah Richardson would have been preferred to James Elles MEP in the South East. The rigging of the system in favour of incumbents prevented this. CCHQ felt they had to give women special treatment and we ended up with most women receiving less votes than male candidates but being given higher places on the list by the party's preferential system.

Strenuous efforts were made to prevent the grassroots from learning anything meaningful about the candidates that they were allowed to rank. The EU enthusiasts who took control of the candidate selection process were determined that grassroots members were prevented from knowing very much about the non-incumbent candidates. They worried that an open process would see the most Eurosceptic candidates prosper. They introduced a number of measures to avoid transparency:

  • A three month purdah period. Once candidates had been shortlisted they were not allowed to actively communicate with grassroots members. Candidates were even told that they couldn't participate in the IWantAReferendum constituency ballots that coincided with the selection process.
  • There were no official hustings and unofficial hustings were discouraged. Constituency associations that held events at which some candidates were in attendance were instructed by CCHQ that if the candidates were to address the gathering it was important that they said "nothing political". Some Associations bravely ignored CCHQ advice but they were exceptional.
  • Candidates were only allowed to use template CVs to communicate with members and these CVs were edited at CCHQ. The template CVs allowed little opportunity for candidates to present themselves in distinctive ways. Each candidate was issued with strict guidance as to what they could say and couldn't. At least two candidates mentioned the "renegotiation" word in their draft CVs and were instructed to delete it.
  • Candidates were given lines to take. When asked candidates a series of questions about their political beliefs some candidates were initially instructed not to answer. CCHQ then relented but John Maples MP, Head of the Candidates Department, issued suggested answers for all candidates to use. Several candidates replied to us with the exact answers that they had been supplied with and undoubtedly won brownie points from the powers-that-be as a result. This was picked up by many ConservativeHome readers however, and they weren't impressed.

The voting process was complex and restrictive. The system was not STV but a unique system devised by CCHQ that saw every vote weighted. Maybe they were inspired by the esteemed Eurovision Song Contest? Grassroots members fortunate enough to receive a ballot paper - and there is anecdotal evidence that huge numbers did not - were required to vote for every candidate. For the reasons given immediately above this was very difficult as it was very difficult to distinguish between candidates. We suspect that there was a lot of 'donkey voting' with people putting numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc in a simple alphabetical order. Any voter that failed to give a number to every candidate would have had their whole ballot paper disqualified. This system was perfectly designed for evening out voter preferences - a vote for a strongly preferred candidate wasn't worth much more than one for someone the voter didn't want to rank at all.

Full results of the election process have been suppressed.
On Friday the party announced the results of the ballots but did not announce the number of votes received - partly to hide the fact that most women had been outvoted by men. Results leaked throughout the weekend to ConservativeHome and we published the South East regional results on Monday morning in order to increase the pressure on CCHQ to publish. Eventually John Maples MP did publish the number of points that each candidate did receive but has refused to publish information on turnout and spoilt ballot papers. By way of comparison, even the recent Conservative Future elections - also ran by the Electoral Reform Society - were democratic enough to allow candidates and their scrutineers to view the ballots being counted (both valid and void), and to announce the exact results straight away.

The proportion of spoilt ballot papers was probably higher than in 2007's Scottish Elections. Remember the furore that rightly greeted the number of voters disenfranchised by last year's Scottish elections? Our suspicion is that the number of spoilt ballot papers was even greater in this MEP selection process. We think the proportion of spoilt ballot papers may be as high as 15% or 20% but we can't be sure because of CCHQ's refusal to publish. The complexity of the voting form and a widespread disgust at the nature of the process probably combined to produce the scale of this problem. Scotland had to review its election procedures as a result of last year's scandal. So long as CCHQ covers up the scale of our own problem we will not have the necessary information to learn what might be improved for the next internal party elections. We also suspect the decision not to publish reflects a worry that it would reveal poor turnout and declining party membership.

John Maples was responsible for candidate selection as well as being the returning officer. The two roles should have been separated. John Maples is both on the Euro enthusiast wing of the Conservative Party and wants to diminish grassroots involvement in candidate selection. It would have been much better if a more neutral figure had been appointed to oversee the process. As returning officer he has the powers he needs to suppress evidence about the consequences of the decisions he took as head of candidates and he's certainly using those powers.

We are grateful to the many people who have contacted us to produce this summary of the whole selection process. Please email us if you have corrections or other thoughts. We will leave the last word to one of our correspondents:

"We may claim the language of localism transparency and accountability, but we do not show those virtues in our internal affairs. The only conclusion I can reach is that, if we return to government, when we face a difficulty, our instincts will be to control, to centralise and to disenfranchise.

The Party is treating its members as if they are the problem. "Trust the people….unless they are members of the Conservative Party" is the approach.

The natural inclination of Party members is to be loyal. We want to win the general election and we don't want to rock the boat. CCHQ seems to be taking cynical advantage of that, by rigging the rules and hoping we won't make too much fuss."

The Hunstman's Post

The Tory Gerrymander

'My spies steal Tory blueprint for
MEP selection for Bananaguay's next election.
Is great! Now I have no opposition to shoot!
And UN say election free & fair!'

The world and his wife condemns kleptocrat war criminal Comrade Bob Mugabe as he steals the latest set of elections in Zimbabwe (well, not quite everyone: there are African politicians and Western Leftists aplenty who think this brute is something of a hero). Meanwhile, closer to home, the Conservative Party has been engaged in its own election-fixing scandal.

Hats off to ConservativeHome then, for they have been doggedly pursuing this shameful and tawdry piece of gerrymandering for some time. Reading the sorry tale, it is difficult to connect the word 'democratic' with the phrase 'Conservative Party'.

One consequence of what has gone on will be a loss of votes to UKIP come the next European elections. Many Conservatives will find themselves faced with electing some who have shown themselves to be integrationist Europhiles who have done all they can to undermine mainstream opinion and official party policy on Europe and will be unable to stomach it. UKIP will get their vote instead at a time when we need to be amassing as many votes as possible to demonstrate clear and powerful electoral support for Conservative policy on the Treaty of Lisbon (provided they have one) and the consequent dilution of moral authority on Europe will undermine Cameron, if and when he becomes Prime Minister, in all his dealings with the EU.

Another consequence is the generation of distrust between the grassroots and the leadership. This will, one suspects, redound to the latter's disadvantage next time this exercise takes place, for we now know how the tail intends to wag the dog. The tail should not be surprised if it finds itself docked.

Advantage has been taken of the natural loyalty of Conservatives at a time when all of us wish to be presenting a united front to the world with a view to securing the election of a Conservative Government (warts and all) in place of the present Socialist one.

Thanks to ConHome we know in considerable detail (and despite the best efforts of some to prevent the detail from seeing the light of day) how the selection process has been very carefully and shamefully fixed. It reflects absolutely no credit whatsoever on those who have taken part. Memories concerning this sort of thing are, however, long and one doubts whether this particular Chumocracy will ever be permitted again to get away with an exercise redolent of a Banana Republic. The fixers, however, may well be dismayed when the pendulum swings firmly the other way and those who are thought to have benefited unfairly by this process are swept away in 2014.

In addition the leadership of the party may well regret the reaction to this as the grassroots will be looking to ensure far greater openness in all such exercises and not just this one. It may yet be that, in trying to ensure the outcome of this selection process, they find themselves forced into much more democratic procedures in future.

It is called the 'law of unintended consequences'.